In this piece, we will explore the myths about sobering up quickly and why they don’t work. If you’re here looking for a way to sober up quickly, let me save you the trouble and tell you that there is no way to sober up quickly. The only way to reduce the alcohol levels in your bloodstream is to let your liver metabolize the alcohol. Now before we dive deeper into the myths, let’s understand how alcohol affects the body.
The moment you take a sip of alcohol, it begins to work its way through your body, affecting everything from your mood to your muscles. When you start sipping (or chugging) your drink, the alcohol combines with your saliva and enters your bloodstream via tiny blood vessels in your mouth or tongue. As the alcohol moves down, your bloodstream absorbs 20% of it through your stomach and the rest through your small intestine. Alcohol dilates your blood vessels as it enters your bloodstream, causing your skin to flush and you feel a rapid change in body temperature.
Water-soluble ethanol molecules travel to the brain through the bloodstream, where they bind to nerve receptors and release feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. Ethanol, in particular, binds to glutamate, a neurotransmitter that normally excites neurons. Ethanol prevents glutamate from becoming active, causing the brain to respond to stimuli more slowly. You’ll notice more physical symptoms as you drink more. Alcohol depresses your central nervous system and disrupts communication pathways in your brain, affecting how your brain processes information. This is when you begin to notice symptoms such as slurred speech, loss of coordination, blurred vision, and dizziness.
Now that we understand how alcohol gets us drunk, it’s time to explore the myths around sobering up quickly.
Myth: Sucking on a Lemon
This is a good thing to do after you take a shot to rid your mouth of the awful taste but giving a drunk person a lemon to suck on will not sober them up.
Myth: Taking a Cold Shower
Truth: A cold shower may help you wake up and regain your energy, but it won’t lower the amount of alcohol in your blood. It’s possible for people to actually pass out from the shock of a cold shower in some circumstances.
Myth: Eating Fatty Food
Truth: If you start drinking with a full stomach, the alcohol will be absorbed more slowly into your bloodstream. However, alcohol enters the bloodstream in about 10 minutes. It’s too late for food to have any effect once the alcohol is in your blood. Furthermore, the combination of fatty foods and alcohol can result in diarrhea.
Truth: Vomiting will not lower your blood alcohol level. Because alcohol is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream, it won’t make much of a difference unless you vomit immediately after taking a sip. However, excessive drinking can cause nausea. And vomiting frequently relieves nausea.
Truth: Having caffeinated drinks could help make you feel more alert, but they won’t remove the alcohol from your body or help you sober up. Caffeine, in fact, can be dangerous because it tricks people into believing they are sober enough to drive.
Myth: Sweat It Out
Truth: You could try to sweat out the alcohol by going to the gym, running, or even steaming in a sauna. But because the alcohol is in your bloodstream, not your sweat, this technique will not help you sober up. More importantly, working out or going to the sauna while intoxicated can be dangerous because it can dehydrate you even more.
Myth: Drink Water
Truth: While this method may remove a large amount of liquid from your body, only a small amount of alcohol actually leaves the body when you go to the bathroom. However, drinking plenty of water is still a good idea because it will keep you hydrated.
THE ONLY TRIED AND TRUE METHOD
The only scientifically proven method of sobering up is time. The liver needs about an hour to digest the alcohol in a typical alcoholic drink. Bypassing the real process of getting sober can have serious repercussions, such as accidentally injuring others while still drunk.